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Artist statement

Tammi Campbell’s art practice engages with the tradition of Modernist and Minimalist painting by referring, either explicitly or implicitly, to the legacies of Agnes Martin, Frank Stella, or Sol LeWitt, for example. Campbell humorously probes the specificity of the medium of painting and the fetishism of the creative process through paintings made in the style of trompe l’œil, but which appear to remain unfinished. Her “in progress” and “unfinished” aesthetic draws upon various materials and peripheral activities that are specific to the art world, and which contribute to a deep questioning of the value attributed to painting and to the artist’s craft. In fact, her work tends to generate both anticipation and confusion, and nullifies the usual analytical codes inherent in the act of contemplating an artwork.

In her series Work in Progress, Campbell simulates beige and green masking tape, and effectively imitates the process of creating geometric, hard edge abstract paintings. Often presented flat on the surface of a worktable, these pieces transpose a moment in the studio into the space of the gallery. In Paper series, the potential of the white page is left untouched, as no pictorial element can be detected on its surface until one realizes that the page itself is made entirely of paint. In her most recent series, created for her exhibition New Works at Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, the artist recreates various packing materials in the style of trompe l’œil from a mixture of acrylic-based mediums: corrugated cardboard, clear plastic wrap, bubble wrap, packing tape, etc. As a result, these paintings, much like the works in Paper series, more closely resemble a kind of three-dimensional painting akin to sculpture.

Between October 2010 and October 2015, Tammi Campbell meticulously developed her series Dear Agnes, during which she would write a letter to Agnes Martin, Canadian pioneer of abstract painting, when she arrived at her studio every morning. Hundreds of letters present an infinite array of straight grids traced out in pencil on Japanese paper. Like an act of homage, this daily ritual constitutes a gesture of understanding and connection through which Campbell silently communicates with Martin through the metaphoric use of the latter’s geometric vocabulary.

Biography

Tammi Campbell’s (b. 1974) holds a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. Over the past ten years, her work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada, namely at the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon (2015, 2013, 2012, 2008, 2007); the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto (2014); the Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina (2013); Mercer Union, Toronto (2013); and the Galerie de l’UQAM, Montréal (2013). In addition, a major solo exhibition of her work will be presented at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, in 2016. Campbell has also participated in the Canadian Biennale 2014 at the National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa, as well as the 30th International Symposium of Contemporary Art of Baie-St-Paul, in 2012.

In recent years, Campbell’s work has been the subject of several feature articles in Canadian Art, Border Crossings, and C Magazine, and her work is part of several institutional collections, including BMO Financial Group, Toronto; Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; Mouvement Desjardins, Québec; Musée d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; RBC Financial Group, Toronto; TD Bank Group, Toronto. She lives and works in Saskatoon, Canada. Tammi Campbell is represented by Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montréal.